Quarantine Any Sick People in the Home
The flu can spread so easily when someone is coughing, sneezing, and touching everything in the house. Keeping them in their own separate rooms is the best solution. This will reduce exposure to everyone else in the house.
Many types of disinfectants are out on the market to choose from. Bleach is one of the first things people grab. Other items available are wipes, sprays, soaps, hydrogen peroxide, and isopropyl alcohol. Be sure when you have these items and do your homework before mixing them together. Some can become hazardous when mixed.
Disinfectants come in many different brands and prices. Look at the ingredients on the back to see how diluted they are before you make your purchase. The higher the content of the disinfectant and the lower the water content, the better. If the bottle has more water in it than disinfectant, it may not be a wise choice when you want your home to be cleansed of flu germs. Wondering about the current pandemic? Here’s a list of EPA-recommended disinfectants for use against COVID-19.
After someone has been confirmed with having the flu, the first thing you should turn to is bleach wipes, like Clorox, to wipe down all surfaces. Starting with the sick family member’s room and bathroom. These surfaces include all counter tops in all rooms, tables, stair banisters, all wooden surfaces, all metal surfaces, faucet handles, sinks, tub(s), door knobs and handles, light and lamp switches, remotes, the entire toilet, walls, and any other surfaces, even if you’re not sure if the sick person hadn’t touched it since being sick.
The Unusual Places
Having someone down and sick with the flu, they are touching everything in the house, even some spots that you wouldn’t normally think about. For example, your trash cans. Most of them are plastic or metal and can be soaked in a bleach solution. Others can be wicker and will have to be sprayed with Lysol disinfectant. If you are using a wastebasket in the sick family member’s room, use a plastic one, with a plastic garbage or grocery bag inside to catch all the dirty tissues.
Cleaning the Floors
Your floors are already needing to be cleaned from everyday things, but when someone in the house is sneezing and coughing, those germs can get on your floors too. After you’re done mopping, it’s recommended to soak the mop head in a bleach solution of ½ cup bleach to one gallon of water for 15-20 minutes. To make things easier, you can also clean your floors with mops, like Swiffer, that use disposable cloths.
To disinfect your carpeted areas, it’s best to use spray disinfectants like Lysol before and after you vacuum them.
Washing The Children’s Items
Cleaning can become a little more of a task when the kids are sick. Cleaning and disinfecting their toys and other items is definitely recommended. Items that are not electronic such as metal/plastic toys, teething rings, bottle nipples, and other dishes, can be soaked in a bleach solution of 2 teaspoons of bleach to one gallon of water for 2 minutes. After, rinse them all in warm water, and air dry.
For electronics, larger toys, other things that are too large to soak in a solution, dressers, and other large furniture, turn back to the disinfectant wipes. Soft surfaces, such as beds, clothed furniture, and stuffed animals can be disinfected with Lysol spray.
Blankets, Bedding, Towels, and the Rest of the Laundry
Clothes and other cloth materials are some other difficult items to fully disinfect. Keep the sick family member’s towels away from everyone else’s, or use disposable when you can. Change the member’s bedding as soon as they are recovered. Wash all of the infected member’s things: bedding, clothes, towels, and blankets separate from everyone else’s. When you bring their things to the washer, use a basket, don’t carry them in just your arms. Use Clorox wipes to wipe down the washer and dryer between loads, and run an empty cycle with hot water and bleach. Run an empty cycle again, with only hot water to rinse away the rest of the bleach in the machine.
Some laundry detergents are adding disinfectants to their solution. You can also add non-chlorine bleach to your wash loads. Use hot water where and when you can.
Last Bit of Cleaning Advice
No matter what you’re cleaning, what room you’re in, what you’re doing, or who you’ve been in contact with, washing your hands is an absolute must. The easiest way the flu is spread is by touching surfaces. Even if you don’t feel sick, wash them. If you’re somewhere that hand washing isn’t available, carry alcohol-based hand sanitizer, and use that, especially when out running errands. Washing and sanitizing your hands can help prevent you from getting sick, and carrying any bug into your house and getting your family sick.
For specific advice about protection against COVID-19 please review the CDC guidelines.